Like a Good Neighbor 14, 15 nd 16

20 Kas

Like a Good Neighbor 14, 15 nd 16




For the next few weeks as the holidays approached Kate and I spent as much time together as we could. She was on days for the next few weeks, so I planned to eat lunch with her on Wednesday. She promised to give me about an hour’s notice so I could make my way over to the hospital. Everyone there ate in the cafeteria so that if they were needed, they could get back to the emergency room quickly. Kate sent me a text at about eleven thirty stating that her crew would take lunch at twelve thirty. I left the gym about quarter to twelve and was sitting in the cafeteria when Kate and her nurses came in the door.

Kate walked over and kissed me quickly then I followed her to the line that had formed. I told Kate that I would buy everyone’s lunch. Kate informed everyone which went over very well. Everyone received their lunch and I paid for everything then joined them at the table.

“Jace, these are my people. That’s Jill, Cindy, and Megan. Without them I would be lost for sure. Girls, this is Jace Johnson.”, Kate said, introducing all of us.

“Nice to meet you, ladies.”, I answered.

“Ladies……… you don’t know us well enough.”, Megan, the red head laughed.

“Uh……. Just so you know Jace, this group has no filter at all.”, Kate explained.

“I can deal with it, Kate.”, I laughed.

“Oh, I bet you can.”, Megan said, causing the entire group to laugh.

Lunch became a ritual for us with me joining the group at least twice a week sometimes more. The girls would always like to talk shit to me, but it was all in good fun. Kate would facetime me every break she would get and we would talk as long as she was able.

The gym was doing well and I had hired another guy to help in the day to day activities. That way I could alter my schedule to be available when Kate was off. Sometimes, I didn’t want to take the larger SUV so I had purchased a Jaguar XF which I really liked for about fifty five thousand. As soon as Kate saw it, she fell in love and anytime we went somewhere together she wanted to drive it.

We spent Thanksgiving with her family and I got to meet her grandparents on both sides of the family. Kate was still training extremely hard and still making good gains. Kate’s body was very proportionate with her legs and ass spectacular. Men would always break their necks trying to get a good look at her.

It was right after Thanksgiving that I received a call from Jennifer. She was back playing ball, but her father had dropped a bombshell on her. According to Jen, her parents had bought a house that was way over the top. In addition, her father had bought himself a new BMW which according to Jen was over one hundred thousand dollars. So, he sat her down and told her they needed to cut back on expenses which meant the pitching lessons, her batting coach and trainer all had to be dropped. She could still play softball but no more private lessons. Jennifer was ranked as the third best softball player in the city and the number two ranked pitcher. I told Jennifer that I would call her mother and discuss it.

A few days later around lunch time I decided to call Shelby about the situation. Shelby answered the phone quickly with that familiar hello I had heard so many times.

“Hey Shelby, do you have a minute to talk?”, I asked.

“Sure, what’s up?’, she answered.

“Jennifer called me about the softball situation, she seemed very upset.”, I stated.

“Yes, she is. Tim is being an ass as usual but not a lot I can do.”, she sighed.

“I can help out……… she needs to keep training and learning.”, I responded.

“Tim, I can’t let you do that. Besides, Tim would not allow it.”, she shot back.

“I’m offering to help and I could care less what Tim thinks. Just tell him the rest of the year is paid for so it costs him nothing. Find out how much it is for the remainder of the year and I’ll give you a check for cash to pay it all. No one needs to know anything except you and I.”, I responded.

“Jace, that is so sweet of you.”, Shelby said.

“Shelby, I love that little girl. She is like the baby sister I no longer have. Anything she needs, you let me know.”, I offered.

“Will do.”, Shelby said, hanging up.

We were able to pull it off without Tim finding all. Jennifer had to be told and she called me and thanked me almost in tears. I told her if she ever needed anything to let me know. Kate and I were at my house one evening and just talking in general when Kate brought up something.

“Oh, by the way…… my parents want us to join them for the annual gala at the Metronome this year.”, she stated.

“I went to that last year. Shelby’s parents will be there as well as her husband and his father. Should be a real shit show.”, I laughed.

With Christmas on the horizon, I knew I needed to start shopping for Kate. I had no idea what to get her, so I decided to keep things simple. I started at the Under Armor store by purchasing work out wear that she could use daily. I had everything gift wrapped and put in the trunk of my car. I then went to Victoria’s Secret and bought lingerie which Kate also loved and had it gift wrapped.

That weekend Kate and I put up the tree I had bought years before and decorated it. It was in the family room and when we were done it looked amazing. Kate placed the skirt around the tree and we were done but she had to go to the emergency room for her shift. After she left, I went out to my car and emptied all of the presents out and arranged them around the tree. After I was finished, Kate already had eighteen gifts scattered under the tree. I knew Jennifer’s bat size, so I decided to get her the best softball bat available.,

After talking with several people including her pitching coach, I bought an Easton Ghost Advanced Fastpitch bat. It was five hundred fifty dollars but had great reviews. I wrapped it up and put it under the tree as well.

We were about two weeks before Christmas and the gifts under our tree had multiplied fivefold. There were presents stacked on top of presents everywhere. Kate had been shopping for her family as well and everything was under the tree for them as well. I still wanted to get Kate something that signified she was successful and very accomplished in her field. After looking at the Seko watch that she wore every day I decided to get her a new one.

I went to the jewelry store where I had bought Shelby’s engagement ring. I was shown several high-end watches and finally chose a Rolex DATEJUST Gold Automatic watch which was twenty-five thousand dollars. Yes, that was a crazy amount of money to spend but I barely ever spent any significant money. I had over thirty thousand dollars a month coming in just in interested. My checking account was at eight hundred seventy-five thousand and growing. I also purchased a set of diamond earring like the ones I had given Shelby. As I drove home, I felt good about what I had bought for Kate.

We were about a week away from the gala at the Metronome when Kate asked if I wanted to go shopping for a new dress. I agreed and of course Kate had the drive the Jaguar. We went to Neiman Marcus because Kate knew a woman in the sales department. Fortunately, she was working so her and Kate went to work. Kate tried on several dresses never really approving of any of them.

Then she came out in an Alex Perry ledger Strapless Satin Crepe gown in white. The dress was split up the left side almost to the top of her thigh. Kate’s gorgeous legs were in full view, and she looked amazing. She liked the dress as well and bought a pair of white heels to match. I still had my black tux to wear so I was all set. The only drawback to the event would be seeing Shelby, her parents, Tim and his family. Of course, Kate’s parents would have their own table since her father was huge in the business.

Kate asked me if I would take her to the hairdresser the Saturday morning of the gala. So, I accompanied her to the salon where she met with Trish, her stylist.

“Hello Kate, long time no see. And who do we have here.”, she greeted looking me over.

“Hey Trish, this is Jace. Jace is my uh……. significant other?”, Kate explained.

“Well, wherever you got him let me know. I want one too.”, Trish giggled.

I sat in one of the large chairs up front while Kate had her hair cut and colored. She got what was called a Boss Pixie which looked really good on her. She had Trish apply just some minimum honey blonde streaks in her hair which came out amazing. She had her nails and feet done. We left after about two and a half hours of me waiting.

We went home and relaxed a bit then took showers to get ready for the event. We arrived at the Metronome a few minutes before eight o’clock. We have the valet take the car and we walked through the lobby hand in hand. We handed the hostess our invitation and starting walking down the center aisleway between the hundreds of tables that were placed on the left and the right. A quick glance affirmed that the Phillips table was in the same place although most were not there. Kate spotted her parents, and we started walking in that direction. We sat down with them and they remarked how lovely Kate looked.

Thirty minutes later, the place was packed. Shelby’s parents were about five tables to our right and Shelby, Tim and his parents were on the far side of the room. What actually surprised me is that Jennifer was here with a young man dressed in a tux. I was not aware Jennifer had a boyfriend but then again, I was no longer in the loop, so to speak. About a half hour later we were just talking with Kate’s parents when Jennifer and the young man came up to our table. Jennifer leaned over and hugged me then gently kissed my cheek.

“Hey Jace, I miss you.”, she said softly.

“I miss you too, Jen.”, I admitted.

“Jace, this is my friend Lance from school.”, she stated.

“Nice to meet you, Lance. Just so you know this young lady right here means the world to me. You hurt her and you will deal with me.”, I said, shaking his hand.

“No problem……”, he muttered.

“Oh Jen, I have your Christmas present at my house. Next time I see you I will give it to you.”, I promised.

“Thanks Jace, oh by the way Luke doesn’t dance so would you dance one time with me?”, Jennifer asked.

“I would love too just let me know when.”, I offered.

Jennifer and her new boyfriend went back to her parents table and sat down. I returned to the conversation that was going on at our table. Laura McKinney leaned over and almost whispered something in my ear.

“Jace, you are wise beyond your years. I just don’t see young people with the values that you have today. That little girl adores you and she is not even yours. Don’t ever lose track of who you are. That would be a shame.”, she commented.

“Thank you, ma’am.”, I replied.

Around eight thirty the music began playing and a few couples braved the dance floor. I danced once with Kate and noticed that Shelby stared at us the entire time. I’m sure by now she knew who Kate was and how we had met. Every now and then, I would think about Shelby and wonder what went so wrong. About that time Kate leaned into my ear and whispered.

“My ex-husband is here sitting at one of the tables in the back. He must be working in the financial field now. He keeps staring at me.’, she giggled.

“Uh Kate, news flash……… all of the men are staring at you.”, I laughed.

“Yea, I noticed that.”, she said, winking at me.

It was a little after nine thirty when Come Away with Me came on sung by Nora Jones. I was just about to ask Kate to dance when Jennifer showed up at my table.

“I want to dance to this one.”, she stated, holding out her hand.

“Excuse me, I have a beautiful young lady to dance with.”, I commented before getting up.

All eyes were upon us as we both walked out to the dance hand in hand. Jennifer was probably about five foot six and maybe a one hundred pounds. I was six foot tall and two hundred and fifty-five pounds. I’m sure we made a sharply contrasting appearance on the floor. Jennifer had turned into a beautiful young woman taking after Shelby completely. She stepped into my arms and we began to slowly move across the floor.

“My dad is so pissed off right now.”, she whispered.

“Why because I’m dancing with you?”, I asked.

“No because when I told him I was going to dance with you he asked me to dance with him as well. I told him no.”, she smiled.

“Maybe that was not a good idea, Jen.”, I responded.

“Jace, my mom is miserable. I hear them arguing sometimes about the same things they did before. She thinks he has another girl friend, and he probably does. At first, he was home early every day. Now he comes in very late almost every night.”, she answered.

“I’m sorry to hear that. I still can’t figure out why your mom went back to him.”, I stated.

“Neither can I……… Living with you was the best time I have had so far. You and my mom got along so well. I know she still loves you. I hear her crying at night sometimes in her bed.”, Jennifer said.

“I tried to talk to her a few times after she left. She made no indication that she wanted to get back together. And now with Kate, well it’s almost impossible.”, I replied.

“It’s not your fault Jace. She did it to herself thinking he was going to change. My dad will never change. The only person that he cares about is himself.”, Jennifer stated.

We finished our dance and I leaned over and gently kissed Jennifer on the cheek. She had turned into an amazing young lady and a very accomplished softball player. I watched as she walked back to her table and Shelby mouthed the words thank you. I went back to our table and Kate leaned over and kissed me quickly on the lips.

“You’re an amazing man Jace Johnson.”, she said smiling.

“Well, I have to be to go out with the most gorgeous doctor at the hospital.”, I replied.

Kate and I danced several more times and I even danced with Kate’s mother once as she danced with her father. The McKinney’s were good people and treated me very well whenever I was around. In fact, we had invited them over for Christmas Eve so we could exchange gifts. Then Christmas day we were going to their house.

Kate and I were at the bar when her ex-husband came walking over. I could see by Kate’s facial expression she did not want to deal with him, but she put a smile on and greeted him warmly.

“Hey Kate, how have you been?”, he asked.

“I’m doing well. How about you?”, she replied.

“I can’t get over what you have done to yourself. You’re working out now, right?”, he inquired.

“Yes, I am. By the way this is Jace Johnson. He owns Power Plant Fitness and is my personal trainer as well. Jace, this is my ex-husband, Justin.”, she stated.

“Nice to meet you, Justin.”, I replied, shaking his hand.

“Same here.”, he responded.

“Kate, I’m going back to the table so the two of you can talk.”, I offered.

“No, you’re not.”, Kate laughed grabbing my hand.

“Ah, so you have a bodyguard now huh?”, Jason laughed.

“You’re fucking right and he’s a huge motherfucker.”, Kate responded laughing.

“So, are you two dating or something?”, he asked.

“Is that a problem?”, Kate asked smiling.

“Well, I guess it could be if I asked you out.”, he said with a smirk on his face.

“You’re asking me out on a date?”, Kate asked surprised.

“Well…… um yea I guess.”, he stuttered.

“I’m really stunned Justin. When we were married you threw me away without giving it much thought at all. “ Kate replied.

“I know but you look so different now.”, he confessed.

“Well, I’m sorry Justin but Jace and I have been together for a while now. It’s good to see you again though. We need to get back to my parents, take care.”, Kate answered, turning and walking away.

When we got back to the table she sat down and told her parents that Justin had actually asked her out. Honestly, I really thought he was confident she would say yes. Kate’s parents actually got a good laugh out of the story.

We ended the evening right at midnight and walked out with her parents. We got into the Jaguar and began the drive home. I had just pulled on the highway when Kate leaned over and placed her hand over mine.

“I’m really fucking horny right now.”, she said softly.

“Well, I can take care of that when we get home.”, I laughed.

“Or, I can take care of that right now.”, Kate giggled.

She unbuckled the seat belt and slightly turned in the seat so that her head was resting on the passenger side door glass. She opened her legs up slightly and raised her dress exposing her white lace panties.

“See anything you like?”, Kate asked, smiling.

“Uh huh….”, I responded.

Kate slipped her right hand into her panties and began to slowly stroke her pussy. Kate’s eyes were on me as I attempted to drive a vehicle with this gorgeous creature next to me playing with herself. Kate was correct when she said she was horny because she had two orgasms in less than five minutes. But by the time we got home she was ready again.

It was sometime after two in the morning when my cell phone rang. I reached over and picked it up and answered it still half asleep.

“Mr. Johnson, this is Kevin at the front gate. I have a young lady here that wants to see you. She is really upset at this point. Her name is Jennifer Phillips.”, he stated.

“Jennifer…. What the hell. Kevin, keep her there I’m on the way.”, I ordered.

“What is it baby……”, Kate asked.

“I have no clue, but Jennifer is at the front gate and it’s two twenty in the morning. That can’t be good.”, I said putting on a t-shirt.

I drove straight to the gate and found Jennifer sitting on the bench outside the guard shack. I got out and went up to her and I could see she was visibly upset. I told Kevin I would handle it and helped her to the car. On the ride back she made no sense just babbling about her mom and dad. I got her inside and took her to the sofa where Kate was waiting.

“Jennifer, calm down and tell me what is going on……please.”, I stated.

“My dad and mom were arguing with each other. It got really loud, so I went into the kitchen where they were. My dad was drunk as usual. He pushed my mom, so I went to help her. I grabbed him from behind and he elbowed me in my side then grabbed me and threw me against the kitchen counter.” She started.

“Then my mom came over and grabbed him and he turned and punched her in the face. She fell and I think she hit her head on the countertop but I’m not sure. I ran out the door and just kept running. I did not know where to go so I walked over here.”, she said.

“You walk all the way here?”, I asked.

“Yes, I didn’t know where to go.”, Jennifer admitted.

“Let me look at you Jennifer……”, Kate asked getting up.

Kate walked over to Jennifer and asked her where she struck the countertop. Jennifer lifted her t-shirt and her ribs were already severely bruised. She also had a large bruise on her left shoulder. Kate pressed on Jennifer’s ribs causing her to jump.

“I need to take her to the ER and check her out. She may have a fracture.”, Kate suggested.

“I’m going to Shelby’s and beat the shit out of Tim.”, I said as angry as I had ever been.

“No Jace, call the police. I don’t want you getting arrested for assault. On second thought I’m calling them.”, Kate stated.

Kate called 911 and reported the incident as Jennifer had described it. Jennifer relayed the address to Kate for the dispatcher. Kate informed the dispatcher that she was Dr. McKinney from the hospital and she was taking the child to the emergency room where they could contact her.

We all got in my vehicle and drove straight to the hospital emergency room parking lot. Jennifer was having some difficulty breathing which was consistent with a rib injury. As much as I was concerned about Jennifer, I still wanted to be alone with Tim Phillips for just a few minutes. I felt that this would happen and in a way felt somewhat responsible.

Kate walked in the emergency room and took Jennifer immediately into one of the rooms. I sat outside in the waiting room. About thirty minutes later Kate came out and informed me that Jennifer had several fractured ribs and a severe contusion on her left shoulder. Kate had taken x-rays and an MRI to see how severe the damage was. All in all, Jennifer would be fine in about six weeks. Kate was going to prescribe an anti-inflammatory and a mild pain reliever. She walked to the back to finish up with Jen when two police officers walked in. They asked at the nurse’s station and the nurse pointed over towards me. The two of them then walked over.

“I’m Deputy Sheriff Hogan and would like to talk to the juvenile that’s here.”, he asked.

“She’s in the emergency room with Dr. McKinney but she should be out in a minute. Is the mother, ok?”, I asked.

“We have several units at the location, but it appears for now the house is vacant. We are waiting on rank to forcibly enter but before we can I need to speak to the child.”, he replied.

Thankfully several minutes later, Kate and Jennifer came from the back and walked over to us. When asked by the officer Jennifer relayed the same story to them as she had told Kate and I earlier. Since she had stated there was a chance that her mother was hurt, they had permission to forcibly enter the home. Kate showed the officer her credentials and stated bursa eskort that the child would be with us at my address once the incident was investigated. We drove straight home and Kate put Jennifer in the spare bedroom giving her a mild sedative.

About an hour later Kevin informed me the police were heading my way. Several minutes later, I allowed two detectives into my home. They followed me to the living area where Kate was waiting.

“Where is the child?”, one of them asked.

“She is sleeping in the spare bedroom right now, I just put her down.”, Kate informed them.

“What is going on?”, I asked.

“What is your relationship to this family?’, the detective asked.

“I was involved in a relationship with the mother after she divorced the husband. In fact, both the mother and the child lived with me until about a year ago when she went back to the husband. Since then, I have had little contact with them, but I do stay close to their daughter.”, I replied.

“Did Shelby Phillips contact you tonight?”, he asked.

“Not at all. Jennifer told us she ran out of the house and walked here. That’s all I know.”, I responded.

“Well as of now the house is vacant. There are no vehicles in the driveway. There are signs of a struggle inside of the home. We are currently searching for the parents. We may have to call child protective services to take custody of the child.’, he stated.

“She can stay with us.”, I answered.

“My hands are tied in this matter.”, he responded.

“Call Captain Haggerty at Metro. Tell him the child is with Dr. McKinney.”, Kate stated.

One of the detectives got up and walked into the foyer and made a phone call. After about five minutes he walked back in and told the other detective that Captain Haggerty had authorized us temporary custody of the child until the investigation was over or the parents were found.


It was already nine o’clock in the morning and we had not heard a word from the police. Shelby’s parents had called and I informed that Jennifer was safe and they could come over at any time to see her. Currently, they were more concerned about finding their daughter. They agreed as I did that Shelby would not get in the car and just drive off. They had checked the hospitals and all their relatives, but no one had heard a thing.

The following day Kate had to go to the emergency room to cover her shift and I stayed home with Jennifer. It was easy to see that Jennifer was extremely concerned about her mother. I was also starting to fear that Tim had something to do with Shelby’s disappearance. That evening on the local newscast they showed photos of Shelby and Tim Phillips asking the public for help. According to the news Tim Phillips had not shown up for work that morning.

Late that night we received a phone call from one of the detectives informing us that Tim Phillips had been found at a local hotel, but he was alone. The detectives were questioning him at the precinct but according to them he had already lawyered up. At this point, there was no doubt in my mind that he had hurt or killed Shelby.

We passed it on to Jennifer who was really hurting from the rib injury. We were keeping her as comfortable as we could. The following morning, we were informed that Tim Phillips was let go claiming that the two indeed had a fight that night. He claimed that he left the house and went to the hotel, but Shelby was still at the home. He claimed he did not even realize that they were looking for the two of them until he saw it on the news. That’s when he went to the police station.

As of now, there was not much the police could do until Shelby turned up, one way or another. They put out a search for her vehicle and any credit card transactions that she might make. They are attempted to track her through her phone, but it appeared that there was no signal available. After a week had passed the police arrested Tim Phillips and charged him with domestic violence against his daughter. It was simply a tactic in hopes to get him talking again. But he refused to make any statement and his father, Bill Phillips posted his bail and he was released. There was little doubt in my mind that Shelby would not be found safe. I was really struggling to keep my composure because I wanted to hurt Tim Phillips for what I think he had done. But he was sticking to his original story of leaving the home and not knowing where abouts of his wife.

Jennifer was struggling as well with her mother missing as most children would. Jennifer would always come wherever I was and sit close to me where I could hold her. In some ways, I don’t think Jennifer felt safe after living with her father all those years. I knew now that Shelby had been the victim of domestic violence for years but just said nothing.

Several days later, Shelby’s white Mercedes was found at a hotel in the northern part of the state. But Shelby or no one fitting her de***********ion had checked into the hotel. The car was impounded and brought to the station so possible evidence could be collected. All the while, Tim Phillips acted like the grieving husband begging his wife to come home on the news.

Jennifer had gone back to school, but I would drop her off and pick her up every day. The entire faculty were aware of the situation and knew not to let Tim Phillips around his daughter. Jennifer had pulled back into a shell and was quiet most of the time. We didn’t really talk about the possibility of never seeing Shelby again, but I know she was thinking about it. Kate and I were doing our best to keep her preoccupied, but it was tough.

The district attorney’s office had interviewed Jennifer several times and informed us that convicting Tim Phillips of domestic violence would not be difficult regarding Jennifer. They were however holding up going to court as long as they were still investigating Shelby’s disappearance.

We were updated by the lead detective in the case about two weeks later. The crime lab had done an extensive investigation inside of the home. They had collected evidence that told them there was a serious struggle in the home but refuse to tell us what exactly it was. They were almost sure that Tim Phillips was responsible for Shelby’s disappearance but needed that one big break. It was obvious that Tim being a lawyer and his family’s legal status he would have a good defense attorney. The district attorney wanted to be sure before he attempted to indict Tim Phillips.

Then for some strange reason the police started a search of a wooded area north of town. Two days later they discovered a body that was buried in a shallow grave. They were certain it was Shelby Phillips but had to wait on further testing. I could not begin to tell you how I felt. How did this possibly happen to Shelby and why?

It seemed like everyone I ever was close to was taken away for some reason. But Shelby hit me hard. Had she stayed with me she would still be here and she would be safe. Why did she decide to go back to Tim Phillips. And why could he not walk away again if he was unhappy. So many questions and so few answers.

Jennifer was devastated about the news that her mother had possibly been found. Now she had the prospect of her mother gone and her father being jailed for a crime. Where would she live and who could she depend on at this point. I had been in the same situation, but I was an adult at the time of my parents’ death.

Eight days later, Tim Phillips was arrested and charged with first degree murder in the death of Shelby Phillips. He was denied bail by the judge, but he still denied any wrongdoing in Shelby’s death. He had one of the most prominent attorneys in the state represent him due to his father’s law firm. Kate, Jennifer and I sat down and discussed if Jen wanted to attend the trial of her father. After all, it was her mother who he had killed, and she was old enough to know the truth. After a lot of debate, Jennifer decided to attend the opening of the trial then play it by ear.

Thankfully softball had started for Jennifer and she was working with her pitching coach after school every day. Jennifer had worked hard developing her different pitches. She now threw a fastball, changeup and a rise ball. They were now working on a curve ball and a drop ball. Jennifer was in her junior year and she was hoping to start attracting college coaches to her games. Jennifer was throwing the ball at fifty-seven to fifty-nine miles per hour which was a D1 level. Hopefully, she could improve on that this year.

We were all in the courtroom on the first day of Tim Phillips trial. He showed up from the holding cell in a nice suit looking around the courthouse. He looked directly at Jennifer but made no noticeable gesture.

The case was laid out by the district attorney quite well. Tim and Shelby had been arguing in front of their daughter. Tim had become violent and Jennifer had left the house. Sometime during that period Tim had killed Shelby. He then disposed of her body and drove her car to the hotel. Only they were sure that someone had helped Tim but at this time could not identify that person.

I attended the trial every day and much more became clear. Apparently, someone had leaked information that they were positive they were narrowing down the search for Shelby. Honestly, they had no clue and were trying to break something lose. They put Tim under surveillance and followed him to the area where they found Shelby’s body. I have no clue what he was thinking other than maybe he just wanted to check if that area was undisturbed.

Also, the blood trace evidence in the home on the countertop and the floor where Shelby had hit her head. It had been cleaned with a beach solution but was still slightly visible using luminol. Blood had been detected but the cleanup had limited their ability to type it.

Eventually Jennifer took the stand and recalled what happened that night. She did a great job with her testimony but never once looked in the direction of her father. The defense attorney was very careful with Jennifer in front of the jury. He could not go after her testimony for fear of looking like a bully. Jennifer answered every question with authority and never wavered. After Jennifer’s testimony the trial was adjourned for the day.

I was in court the following morning when the judge called the trial to order. Then moments later, I was stunned.

“The defense now wishes to change its plea?”, the judge asked Tim’s attorney.

“Yes, your honor. After consulting with the district attorney’s office, we wish to plead guilty to manslaughter in consideration for a lighter sentence.”, he stated.

“Does the District Attorney’s office concur?”, the judge asked.

“Yes, your honor, we do.”, he replied.

“Very well, we will appear back in court in two weeks for sentencing. Bailiff, please take the defendant into custody.”, the judge ordered.

I just sat there in disbelief. Tim Phillips had just confessed to killing his wife. How was I going to explain that to Jennifer. That her father killed her mother and no one was there to help Shelby. I drove home numb and had to think of how I was going to tell Jennifer what had happened.

I sent a text to Kate asking her to call me when she could. I talked to her about an hour later and relayed the information to her. She sounded relieved somewhat knowing that Tim Phillips was going to jail. She offered to help me tell Jennifer, but I really felt that should come from me. Later that day I told Jen what had happened, but she did not sound surprised. She said she knew deep down what her father had done.

Two weeks later, Tim Phillips was sentenced to twenty-five years in the state prison in the northern part of the state. I contacted an attorney who specialized in custody agreements. Jennifer and I had talked to Shelby’s parents and since they both worked it would be difficult to take custody of Jennifer, but they would do anything they needed to. At that point, I offered to let Jennifer stay with Kate and I until she graduated. Shelby’s parents agreed and having any contact with Tim’s parents was something Jennifer wanted no part of.

After a month of negotiations, the judge gave us temporary custody of Jennifer pending any other information coming forward. Everything that had happened had taken a huge toll on the relationship I had with Kate. But to Kate’s credit she stood beside me the entire time and accepted Jennifer like her daughter. In fact, Kate and Jennifer had become very close friends.

Kate was off the day of Jennifer’s first softball game of the year. Jennifer took the mound with an attitude that I had never seen before. It was almost as if this was personal to Jennifer. As if she had to destroy this opponent. Watching her throw her warmup pitches confirmed that idea. Jen was throwing harder than ever and was dead on target.

Jennifer obliterated the first six batters as if an afterthought. Six innings later Jennifer had pitched a perfect game. No walks, no hits and no runners on base. She struck out fourteen batters in route to a six to nothing score. The next day Jennifer was mentioned in an article about how dominate her team looked the night before. It also stated that she was one of the best pitchers in the state and only a junior.

That night we ordered pizza and talked about the upcoming season and the fact that Jennifer’s team could possibly contend for a state championship. Becky Lane the pitching coach Jennifer was working with suggested it was time for Jennifer start lifting. She suggested more leg strength and more mass in her back, arms and shoulders. We started right away although Jennifer had to be pushed hard during the workout sessions. She was not a big gym person.

Jennifer and I had just come back from a pitching practice and Kate was back from her day shift. Jennifer went into the hall bath and took her shower. She then went into her room to do her homework. I took a shower in the master bathroom and fell into bed. Lately I was feeling a bit run down with all of the running back and forth. I was just about asleep when Kate came in and got in bed with me.

“Can I talk to you for a second?”, Kate asked.

“Of course.”, I replied.

“I’m not quite sure how to say this so I’m just going to say it the best way I know how. I know you’re still in love with Shelby and I understand. Now, I think you see Shelby through Jennifer and that love continues. Don’t get me wrong Jace, I love Jennifer myself. She’s a great kid with an amazing future ahead of her. I just don’t want to see you fall apart when one day Jennifer leaves here to start her new life.” Kate stated softly rubbing my chest.

“Kate, there is a lot of Shelby in Jen, but it has nothing to do with being in love with her mother. Since the first day I met you slowly you have become my best friend. You have stood beside me through more stuff than you should having all the while doing work hours that would drop a normal person. But you never forget to text me and see how I’m doing. Kate, I should have told you this a long time ago, but I cannot possibly lose another person in my life at this point. Kate, I love you…… and I’m in love with you.”, I replied.

“Oh my God Jace, I love you too.”, she answered, softly kissing me with tears running down her face.

We laid there talking for close to two hours before we fell asleep. From that moment on life with Kate was wonderful. I think that night we became a family. Even Jennifer asked what was going on with the two of us because she had noticed the change in us.

That year Jennifer’s team won the state championship with a record of 33-2. Jen was named an All-State ***********ion and the best pitcher in the state as well. We started getting calls from college scouts and some started showing up on the school campus to see Jennifer. Jennifer had maintained a 3.97 grade point average in addition to working with her pitching coach, training in the gym and batting practice twice a week.

That summer Jennifer wanted to have a pool party with her teammates and a few friends from the high school. We picked a weekend that Kate was off so the both of us could be there. I explained the rules to Jennifer that there would be no alcohol or drugs at the party. And anyone who got out of hand would have to leave. Other than that, the house was theirs as was the pool.

I had gone to the local specialty deli and got a lot of food for the party. We had three different sandwich trays, meatballs, chicken wings, tacos, pizza and hot dogs. We had every time of chip imaginable as well had four ice chests full of soda.

People started arriving around six o’clock and by seven thirty the back yard was full of teenagers. Kate and I stayed in the living room a bit out of sight, but we made sure to check in on them every once in a while. Kate and I were both wearing shorts and t-shirts relaxing when one of the girls came in and said Jennifer needed us in the back yard. The both of us got up and went outside.

“Jen, what do you need.”, I asked, walking up to her.

“Someone wants to know how often you and Kate workout.”, Jennifer replied.

“That’s what you needed?”, I laughed.

“Yep……”, Jennifer giggled.

“You know the answer to that Jen. It’s everyday if we can.”, I answered.

“Well, one thing is for sure. Jennifer has the hottest mom and dad in the entire school.”, one girl laughed.

“Well thank you, I think.”, Kate laughed.

“You’re really and emergency room doctor?”, one boy asked.

“Yes, I am.”, Kate replied.

“So, you have saved people lives before, right?”, the boy inquired.

“Yes, sometimes people come arrive in critical condition and we are able to save them. Other times we are unable. That’s the hardest part about the job when a patient dies.”, Kate responded.

“That must suck.”, one of the girls stated.

“Yes, it hard but you must be ready for the next patient.”, Kate commented.

We talked to the group for a while longer then went back inside. The last group was picked up about twelve thirty and three of Jennifer’s teammates had decided to spend the night with the approval of their parents. Kate and I went to bed and left the four of them in the theatre room watching movies.

I got up about six o’clock the next morning to find them all still asleep in Jennifer’s room. At around nine o’clock the doorbell rang and it was one of their mom’s looking to pick them all up and bring them home. I invited her in stating that I thought the girls were still sleeping. Kate volunteered to go in and wake them up. The mother sat on the sofa looking around the home.

“I think it’s wonderful that you have taken Jennifer in and what you’re doing for her. The talk around school is that you were involved with the mother?”, the woman asked.

“Yes ma’am. After Jennifer’s mother divorced her father, we started seeing each other. They in fact lived next door. Eventually they moved in with me but after about a year Jennifer’s mom decided to go back to her husband, so we split up. But I stayed close to Jen and I guess when everything happened it only seemed natural to have her here.”, I answered.

“She has done remarkably well considering what she has been through.”, she remarked.

“Yes ma’am, she has.’, I answered.

Jennifer finally adapted to the weights when it started to translate into pitching performance. Jennifer had gain eighteen pounds of pure muscle and she was now one hundred twenty-eight pounds which seemed perfect for her. Most of her gains had been in her lower body most due to the squat rack. Jennifer had developed nice thighs and calves. In addition, her shoulders and back had benefited as well.

By August that transformation had turned into a sixty-five to sixty-six mile an hour fastball. Becky was extremely pleased due to the fact that she only threw at seventy when she was in college. Jennifer was looking forward to her senior season and the attention she would be getting. There were not a lot of softball scholarships available, but it was certain according to Becky Lane that Jen would get one.

Jen had also just started dating a new guy from school named Trey Williams who was a tight end on the football team. Kate and I had not met him yet, but he was coming over on Saturday night to hang out with Jennifer along with another couple who they hung out with. Word had gotten out that Jennifer had cool parents so hanging out here was a new thing. But in fact, we didn’t mind at all. When Jennifer was home with her friends, we knew she was safe.

That night Kate and I were talking about how hectic things were with the three of us but honestly neither of us would change anything. With the way Kate worked it was hard to maintain any continuity in our relationship. But Jennifer would be a senior this year and probably leaving for college in less than a year.

Kate suggested that perhaps we could buy Jennifer a car so she could get herself to school and practice. In return that would free me up to spend more time at the gym and with Kate.

The next morning, I walked into the kitchen and Jennifer was eating breakfast. I poured a cup of coffee and sat down next to her.

“Jace, my grandfather left me a text message and wants to see me.”, she stated.

“Tim’s dad?”, I asked.

“Yes, But honestly, I don’t want to see him. He knew how my dad was and constantly covered for him. Several times the police came bursa escort bayan and he got the charges dropped. Maybe if he would have confronted my dad, she would still be alive.”, Jen sighed.

“Jennifer, it’s not my place to tell you how to feel. You’re a grown woman now and that’s a decision you must make. Whatever you decide, Kate and I will stand by you.”, I replied.

“I know you will.”, Jennifer said grabbing my hand.

“Jen, I want to talk to you about something. Kate and I were talking last night well……. How would you feel about us buying you a car?”, I asked.

“Are you serious?”, Jen screamed.

“Yes, we are. You had driver’s education last year and passed. We go get your license then buy a car and get insurance. That way you could drive to school and back every day. You could also get to practice and back when you need to. But there will be some strict rules.”, I stated.

“I love you, Jace.”, Jen answered, kissing my cheek.

The following week, Jennifer passe her driving test so we started looking for vehicles. First, I offered her my SUV, but she thought it was a little big for her. I did limit her to what she could buy because I wanted no small sports car. I wanted her to be in the safest vehicle I could find. She did agree to an SUV making it easier for her to haul her softball gear around. We looked at virtually every SUV available. In the end we chose a Mercedes GLE 450 4Matic SUV. It was one of the pricier vehicles we looked at but it had all of the collision monitors, automatic braking, navigation, hand free phone system, anti-theft system with auto disabling, a premium sound system, leather interior and heads up driving display. I finalized the sale at eighty-two thousand dollars and Jennifer drove her new car home.

Kate got home and few hours later and Jennifer took her for a ride in the new vehicle. They came aback about thirty minutes later and then we sat down and had a mandatory meeting as we called them. I learned that from my dad. A mandatory meeting was when he laid the rules down and what the consequences would be for breaking them. The three of us sat down at the table so everyone was on the same page.

“Jen, you know both Kate and I love you very much. In fact, I think of you as my daughter and maybe that’s not right, but it is how I feel. We both have suffered unbelievable loss in our life, so this is why we are here. You have a new vehicle, but you also have new responsibilities. Kate and I basically know your schedule and when you will be leaving or coming home. But if for any reason at all you’re running late or get tied up somewhere you call one of us and let us know what’s going on.”, I started.

“I’m not going to pace the floor at night and wonder where you are. It’s not my responsibility to call you, you must call us. Secondly, no one drives that car but you. You’re fully insured but I can’t be sued because you make a bad decision. I enrolled you in AAA so any breakdown or problem and they will be there.”, I continued.

“If for any reason you decide to drink alcohol you call us and we will come get you. You do not drive when you have had anything to drink. The penalty for breaking these rules is loss of use of the vehicle and you go back to riding with me or Kate. Do you understand?”, I finished.

“I understand Jace. I remember when we waited to hear about mom and how nervous we were. I promise you will always know what is going on.”, Jennifer answered.

“That’s all I’m asking for.”, I responded handing her the key fob.

That evening, Kate had the sex talk with Jennifer prior to her new boyfriend coming over. I’m so glad that Kate handled that. It would have been very awkward for me. Trey Williams and the other couple Corey and Rylie showed up at the house. Lance was a big kid probably around six foot three maybe two hundred pounds. He was the starting tight end on the football team and a very good student as well. I could see that both Trey and Corey checking out Kate who was wearing compression clothes. I don’t blame them though Kate had an amazing figure. Kate and I gave them the pool area and we went into the theatre room to watch a movie. Kate started the movie and snuggled up against me on the double reclining chair.

“Jennifer is quite a young lady.”, Kate replied.

“Yes, she is.”, I replied.

Later that night we checked on the kids and Jennifer stated that they would be leaving right after midnight. I took a shower then laid in bed turning on the television. Kate came out of the shower wrapped in a towel and checked the bedroom door to make sure it was locked. She walked back over to me and let the towel fall to the fall. She pulled my shorts down and straddled my thighs.

“I want to talk to you about something that I have been thinking about.”, she explained, started to stroke my dick up and down.

Kate’s soft hands always got me hard in no time and this was no exception. She lifted herself up and guided my hard dick into her very wet pussy. She took me inside of her then leaned forward looking down at me.

“Uh, I thought you wanted to talk about something?”, I asked.

“I do but I want to fuck you as well. I’m multi-tasking here.”, she giggled.

“By all means multi-task away.”, I laughed.

“Look, I had to get myself off at work earlier today just thinking about tonight.”, she whispered.

“Oh, you’re a very naughty doctor.”, I answered.

“You have no fucking idea how naughty I am.”, Kate laughed moving slowly back and forth on me.

“So, what do you want to talk about?”, I asked, holding her hips as she moved.

“What do you think about me going into private practice?’, she asked.

“Oh…… I never really thought about you ever switching into anything else to be honest with you.”, I replied.

“It would mean more money but more importantly it would mean stable daytime hours. And I would be a partner in the business end of it. But really the main issue is I want to be here and spend more time with you. When I work the night shift, I work all night then sleep all day. I fucking miss you so much.”, she said softly.

“Kate, money will never be an issue for us. You can quit and stay home if you want. The only thing I want is for you to be happy and safe.”, I responded.

“God, I love you so much.”, she whispered, her face and upper chest turning pink.

“I love you too baby.”, I replied.

Kate’s right hand went to her pussy and she began to rub her clit very slowly. She was staring directly into my eyes with a look that I had seen so many times before. Kate’s finger speed had increased and she slightly leaned forward and exploded into a violent orgasm which shook her entire body for several seconds. She collapsed on my chest trying to catch her breath. I wrapped my arms around her and softly kissed the side of her neck. It took several minutes for Kate to recover but she was now sitting on me again moving as she had before.

“God I’m so fucking wet.”, she whispered.

“Yes, you are…… you feel so good.”, I replied.

“Don’t cum yet baby…. I want to cum again.”, Kate pleaded.

“Cum all you want’’, I answered.

Kate had two more orgasms before she got off me and moved down my body. She took my dick into her mouth and began to suck on me very gently. I was already past the point but had been holding on so Kate could have multiple orgasms. Kate knew me well enough to know I was ready to get off.

“Cum in my mouth baby.”, she urged.

“Oh, fuck Kate, I’m gonna cum.’, I warned.

Kate put her soft tongue on the head of my dick and started to jerk me up and down. The first blast of cum covered her tongue and she continued to rub her tongue on me. I continued to spurt cum on her tongue and into her mouth as she softly rubbed my cock. When I stopped gushing cum, she took me into her mouth and began to softly suck on me getting the last drops of cum from my dick.

We both got up and took a shower together where we kissed and made out like teenagers under the water. We got back into bed and I ate Kate out to another orgasm then entered her from behind and came inside of her causing her to cum again.

We both collapsed on the bed and I held her in my arms and we continued to talk about her possibly going into private practice with two other doctors who already had an established practice that had grown too large for them to handle. I reiterated that this decision had to be made by Kate. I didn’t want Kate to resent me for giving up emergency medicine.

“Kate, I have seen you in the emergency room. I think you thrive on the chaos and confusion where you can take charge.”, I said.

“Oh, you’re right there…… but I am beginning to realize how short life really is. Do I want to be working eighty to hundred hours a week or working a normal week and spending the time with you. Besides, I can always go back to the emergency room if I choose.”, she replied.

“Give it some thought baby, whatever you decide I’m with you.”, I responded.

“Let me go check on the kids.”, Kate said.

Kate grabbed her silk robe and put it on tying the sash around her waist. She opened the door and walked down the hallway where I hear her softly speaking. She came back about ten minutes later and told me everyone had left and Jennifer went to bed. I slept well that night and got up early and made some coffee. I was on my second cup when Jennifer came in rubbing her eyes and yawning.

“Good morning sunshine……”, I said greeting Jen.

“Morning dad……”, she giggled.

“I’m dad now?”, I laughed.

“Yep, and you’re the absolute best dad in the world.”, she said pouring a cup of coffee.

“Damn girl, you’re sucking up big time ain’t ya?”, Kate laughed walking in the kitchen.

“Aw, I love you too, mom.”, Jen said, hugging Kate.

“I’ll mom you……”, Kate laughed.

Sometime over the course of that weekend something Kate said hit me like a ton of bricks. Life was too short to waste time on things that did not matter. I decided to ask Kate to marry me while Jennifer was still living with us. I took the original engagement ring I had bought for Shelby and went down to a new jewelry store located in the heart of downtown. They had been advertising about being the best, so I decided to look and see what they had.

I walked through the various cases looking at a maze of engagement rings and began to think maybe I should have brought Kate with me. I asked the girl to give me a few minutes and decided to call Kate’s mother Laura. She answered the phone quickly.

“Hi Laura, I need some help.’, I asked.

“Sure sweetie, what can I help you with?”, she answered.

“First, I want you and your husband to know that I’m going to ask your daughter to marry me.”, I stated.

“Oh my God, that is so wonderful. I have been hoping this would happen.”, she said, very excited.

“Here’s my problem……. I’m at Detilliers Fine Jewelers and I’m lost looking through all these rings. Do you think Kate would prefer me picking one out or bring her here with me?”, I asked.

“No, you pick it out. I know exactly what type of ring she loves. I’m on my way.”, she replied, hanging up.

About forty-five minutes later, Laura McKinney came through the door and walked over to me. She kissed me on the cheek and hugged me tightly congratulating me. Laura went back to the counter with me and explained to the lady we wanted to look at Halo Split band engagement rings. The lady nodded and took us over to one of the center showcases. She explained that this was a unique ring and showed us several versions. I mentioned that I wanted something really special for Kate and she lite up immediately. She informed me that she would be back in a minute or two.

She returned with a large black case and set in down in front of me. She opened the case and exposed a very large diamond ring. She pulled it out of the holder and held it out to me.

“This is the best Split Band Halo Engagement ring we have in the store. I’ll be honest. It was made for someone else, but the wedding was called off. We took a large deposit on it and I’m sure Mr. Detillier would make you an awesome deal on it.”, she said.

“What do you think Laura?”, I asked handing her the ring.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how I feel right now. What size diamond is this?”, Laura asked.

“That’s a seven and a half carat total weight ring in fourteen carat white gold. We also have the matching wedding band for both bride and groom.”, she stated.

“Jace, maybe we go down a bit in size.”, Laura laughed.

“How much is this ring?”, I asked.

I’m not sure let me get Mr. Detillier for you.”, she stated.

She left and went into the back-office area and came back with a gentleman in a suit probably in his fifties. He walked up and shook my hand then she explained the situation, he nodded as if he understood.

The ring was originally one hundred thirty-eight thousand dollars. I received a sixty thousand dollar down payment on it before it was cancelled. Let me get the folder on this item.”, he stated.

He left and came back a few minutes later with a large manilla envelop. He laid it down and took the original bill of sale out. He scanned the invoice and then looked up at me.

“Tell you what I will do. The balance is roughly seventy-eight thousand dollars on this ring. I’ll let you have it for sixty grand all in. You won’t get a better deal anywhere on a ring this size with both bands. You’re getting a ring that’s worth at least one hundred forty grand.”, he stated.

“I’ll take it……” I replied.

They accepted my personal check and checked my ring size for my band. Laura knew Kate’s size so her ring could be fitted as well. By the time the ring was ready my check would have cleared. They gave me a receipt and we walked out. I informed Kate’s mother that I would propose during the Christmas holidays which she though was a great idea.


The school year had started and since Jennifer was driving herself back and forth, I was able to get getting my normal early morning workouts in. Kate would either join me in the morning or evening depending on her shift. She has decided to go into private practice with two other doctors close to the hospital. She would work from eight in the morning till about five in the afternoon with end weeks off. I did like the fact that Kate was going to keep normal hours, but I hoped she would not regret her decision to leave the emergency room.

Jennifer was pitching with her coach three days a week and working out at the gym the other three with Sunday being rest day. Jennifer was consistently throwing a sixty-six to six eight mile an hour fast ball which assured her of being a D1 ***********ion. Becky felt by the end of the season Jennifer could be throwing a seventy mile per hour ball. But since it was only October they could not start with practice until mid-February.

Jennifer’s grandfather on her dad’s side was really doing everything he could to spend time with Jennifer. But Jennifer wanted nothing to do with him. I wasn’t sure if it was because he was her grandfather, or something more had happened that she wasn’t talking about. Jennifer showed me a few of the messages and they seemed to be getting angrier as time went on. Finally, Jennifer came to me and said that she would consider meeting him if I came along with her.

I explained to her that I’m sure Bill Phillips would not appreciate me being there due to it being a family matter. Jennifer quickly replied that Kate and I were her family now as far as she was concerned. I agreed to go with her provided that she tells Bill Phillips I would be there.

I saw the text he sent in return that Jennifer told him I was coming which he did not take well. But after she told that was the only way she would meet him, he reluctantly agreed. He sent up the meeting on a Friday night at a restaurant in the middle of town.

That Friday night, we left the house around six o’clock to head to the restaurant her grandfather had chosen. Jennifer wanted to drive so she could show her grandfather her new car. We arrived at about six forty-five that evening and went inside. Bill Phillips had not arrived yet, but they did show us to the table they had reserved for him.

Several minutes later he arrived alone and made his way to our table. He shook my hand briefly and sat down calling the waitress over. He ordered a drink and Jennifer and I both ordered iced tea. He wasted no time in getting to the point with Jennifer.

“Your grandmother and I don’t understand why you are reluctant to spend any time with us. What did we ever do to you to make you treat us like this?”, he asked.

“Maybe you should start slow and ask how Jennifer has been doing and work your way up to the current situation.”, I said softly.

“Look son, if I want your opinion on anything in this conversation, I will ask you for it.”, he barked at me.

“Grandpa, you talk to Jace like that again and I will never talk to you again.”, Jennifer said calmly.

“This man is irrelevant in this matter.”, he said raising his voice.

“This man ? ………………………. Let me tell you a little about this man. This man pulled your son off my mom when he fractured her jaw. This man loved my mother and I more than my own father ever did. This man paid for my softball equipment, my private coaches, and my training. This man pays for my tuition at Sacred Heart right now and this man just bought me a vehicle.”, Jennifer replied.

“Fair enough….”, he responded.

“Grandpa, how many times did my mother come to you and ask you for help. You knew my father was abusing the both of us, but you did nothing. Grandmother knew and she did nothing. Maybe if you would have stepped in and gotten my father help my mother would still be alive.”, Jennifer stated.

“I was aware of maybe one or two incidents that……”, he started.

“Grandpa, please don’t lie. My mother called you many times and I know you saw the bruises on her as well. Whoever was close to him when he got drunk paid the price. He used to whip me too if he couldn’t get to my mother. Don’t say you didn’t know. Be honest and say you didn’t want the embarrassment it would bring you.”, she demanded.

“I see you’re well coached.”, he laughed.

“Coached……… I don’t have to be coached Grandpa, I lived it. In fact, Jace has no idea of all the beatings my mom and I took. If he really knew, my dad might have not lived long enough to kill my mother. I’m a woman now and I do not need anyone to tell me how I feel. Jace and Kate love me with no conditions attached. As far as I’m concerned, they are my parents now and I love them.”, she admitted.

“Have you been to see your dad since he went to prison?”, Bill asked.

“Grandpa, I never want to see him again in my life.”, she replied, looking down at the table.

“Well, I guess this conversation is useless then. I’m sorry for dragging you out here for nothing.”, he responded.

“Grandpa, I will play in over forty games this year. I will send you a schedule as soon as I get one. You’re welcome to attend any time you want to. Between school, training and softball games I barely have time to breathe. But if you want to get together and I can it’s not a problem. But I want you to know two things. First, as far as I am concerned my dad does not exist and I will never see him or talk to him again. Second, I don’t mind spending time with you as long as you realize that fact.”, she demanded.

“I’m sorry you feel that way, but I guess I have to accept it.”, he replied.

“No, you don’t have to accept it. But if you want to see me you do. It’s your choice.”, she answered.

“So be it, but just so you know your father wants to speak with you.”, he sighed.

“He will be waiting a very long time then.”, she answered.

We left about ninety minutes later with Jennifer promising to send her softball schedule to him. Bill Phillips was parked relatively close to us and he noticed Jennifer walking to the driver’s side of her GLE 450. She hit the alarm and the car opened.

“Tim, you’re letting her drive your vehicle?”, he laughed.

“No sir, this is her vehicle.”, I replied.

“Oh…….”, was the only comment.

As we drove home, I could not help but feel proud of Jennifer. She had faced a lot of adversaries in her life and had handled it well. She had no parents to speak of but was still an honor scholar and one of the top softball recruits in the state. She had never been in trouble at school as far as I knew and had never given me any problems at all.

The school year started and since Jennifer would be attending college next year, I hired a tutor specifically to get her college ready. She was taking all honor classes, but the extra help would come in handy. We were told that the life of a college athlete was brutal, so I wanted her to be ready.

Kate had started her new job and she claimed it was definitely a learning curve for her. There was no longer the rush of adrenaline and hectic pace that was the emergency room. Instead, she had patients scheduled every fifteen minutes with a full hour for lunch. When patients would cancel, she would call me to just see how my day was going.

Kate had become my everything and I couldn’t wait to ask her to marry me. I had it planned for Christmas Eve, but I was having a very hard time waiting. I was on my görükle escort way to talk to Becky Lane, Jennifer pitching coach when Kate called me.

“What are you doing?”, she asked.

“I’m on the way to see Becky. She wants to talk to me.”, I answered.

“Oh ok………… I can wait.”, she replied.

“What do you need baby?”, I asked.

“I need to get fucked.”, she giggled.

“Well, I can handle that when I get home.”, I replied.

“I know you will……… see you later lover.”, she replied.

I pulled up at the complex where Becky Lane trained at least two dozen pitchers of various ages. I got out and walked into the small makeshift office she used.

“Hey Jace, how are you?”, Becky asked.

“I’m doing well and you?”, I answered.

“Great but hectic……… I have a waiting list of people that want me to work with them, but I’m limited with the space I have. But anyway, the reason I called you to come here is that I am already getting calls about Jen. Soon her phone will start ringing off the hook offering her to make an official visit. I have already spoken to Oklahoma, Texas, UCLA, Alabama, and Florida. She is ranked in the top ten pitchers in the country, but I want her to make a good decision.”, Becky started.

“Some schools will promise anything to get you to sign, it happened to me. But once you get there sometimes thing change. Jennifer must be aware of who is already on the pitching staff and where she falls in that rotation. Take Oklahoma for instance, they have three juniors and four sophomores that are really good. She might be a junior before she breaks into that rotation. Now, there one of the best programs in the country but will she be happy sitting for two straight years?”, she finished.

“I just want Jennifer to be happy. I trust you to advise her and makes sure she does the right thing. But ultimately, it’s up to her.”, I replied.

“I agree with you, but I think that by the end of the year she is going to be throwing right at seventy. In addition, Jen’s break and spin makes her drop ball tough to hit. She is already pitching at D1 level so she can start virtually at any college who needs pitching help. But if Jennifer wants to there may be an opportunity for her to play pro ball. She plays the field well, hits well and pitching is her strength. I may be wrong, but she may have a shot at Team USA. There are fifteen players and three replacement players. I’m getting way ahead of myself here, but she may be that good. Jennifer’s senior season will tell the tale.” She finished.

“Becky, you have done a great job with Jen…… I really appreciate it. You mentioned that you’re limited here in this building.”, I replied.

“Yes, but with the number of students I have it’s hard to even think about moving somewhere else with the downtime. Plus, I am paying way too much rent here.”, she sighed.

“I have an idea, Becky. I have a room on the very back of the gym that is vacant. It’s two hundred feet in width and about 80 feet deep. It’s almost empty with just a few old furnishings in it. Why don’t you meet me at the gym and look at it. Then we can discuss it if you think it will work.”, I offered.

“That would be great Jace. I will call you and let you know.”, she promised.

Several weeks later, I met Becky at the gym early one afternoon. She was intrigued by the huge space and decided to call a contractor who specialized in building baseball and softball training facilities. He laid out a plan that would have three pitching stations where the mound distance was changeable and four indoor batting cages with pitching machines. Becky had a partner who gave batting lessons so the two of them decided to team-up. We had a meeting with the contractor and he laid out the price. Instead of both girls mortgaging themselves to death, I agreed to pay for the renovations and they could simply pay an affordable rent. By attracting the softball world, it could only help boost my clientele in the workout area.

The contractor gutted what was left of the room and painted the walls and ceiling a brilliant white. He built a small office for the two girls and three women’s restroom and one changing room. Each restroom had its shower and wash basin. Then the entire floor was covered with artificial turf, batter’s boxes with home plates to pitch at. Finally, they hung all high intensity LED lighting and a score board at one end to register pitch count.

The entire cost of the renovation was one hundred and sixty-eight thousand which I paid up front. Becky Lane and her friend Amanda Peat agreed to pay a floating rent depending on how well they did that month. Within a few weeks word got out about the facility. Becky and Amanda were working six days a week and had a waiting list. In exchange for the cheap rent both Becky and Amanda worked with Jennifer free of charge.

Kate to my surprise was enjoying her new job and less hectic schedule. We were spending a lot of time together and with her parents as well. Of course, they both knew about the proposal, but they didn’t say a word to anyone in the family. I was working the day shift and Ryleigh and Molly were closing up. During the day I had hired Brad Durrel to help keep the gym neat and tidy.

We had gotten to the point where we were jammed pack during peak hours. But I was basically land locked with no place to go on the right and a small cleaners on my left. I had approached them when I first bought the building, but they did not want to sell at that point. So, if I had any notion of expanding I would need their building or completely move which was out of the question.

I would still come in with Kate and we would lift every morning at five o’clock. Then Kate would shower and go to the medical clinic. I would then train in Muy Thai with the instructor at ten o’clock followed by Krav Maga at one. I would then shower and do paperwork until about four o’clock when I would head home. Christmas was again around the corner and this year Kate’s entire family was coming to our house for Christmas Eve for dinner.

Kate decided to cater the entire event with a local caterer that she knew in high school. She ordered two turkeys, a ham, and a roast for the main course. Then she ordered mash potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, eggplant casserole, dirty rice, and a large pot of gumbo.

In addition, she had several sandwich trays, meatballs in gravy, chicken wings and other assorted snacks. It was going to be quite the event. Jennifer had invited Lance Williams her boyfriend to join us. They had been spending a lot of time together, but softball was approaching for Jennifer which would drastically cut into that time.

Kate told me that she would buy gifts for everyone in the family, so I needed to concentrate on just us. Jennifer was going to be tough this year. She had everything softball related she needed and I had just bought her a Mercedes Benz, how the fuck do you top that?

Then suddenly something struck me like a lightning bolt. In all the commotion that Christmas when Shelby died, I had forgotten to give Kate the Rolex watch I had bought. I snuck outside and open the trunk and pulled back the tire cover and there it was still wrapped in the metallic gold paper. I put it back carefully not wanting to walk in with it. Well at least I had one present for Kate.

Since I knew, Jennifer was going to college soon I decided to buy her a Mac Book Pro that she could use for years. In addition, I bought a hard case for it so she could slide it inside of her backpack. I also bought her an IPAD for everyday use and a case for that. Kate also snuck in Jennifer rooms and looked at sizes for Kate could buy her somethings for college.

I did the same with Kate and decided to go to Sak’s Fifth Avenue to shop for her. I found Kate some Mid-Rise Cropped Skinny Jeans by Rag and Bone which were extremely nice. I also bought three Victoria Beckham dress suits in black, brown and grey with three white blouses to match. I finished off with a pair of Schutz Snake Embossed Short Boots, a pair of L’AGENCE Leather Ankle Boots and several pair of ankle strapped sandals. I left everything with the sales lady to be wrapped and asked her to call me when everything was ready.

Kate, Jennifer, Trey and I put the tree up and decorated it. It looked really nice and everyone was in the festive mood. That Tuesday on the way home I stopped at Sak’s and picked up Kate’s gifts. They always did a wonderful job wrapping and this year was no exception. I got home before everyone else and placed Kate’s gifts around the tree. I went into the kitchen and wrapped the computer and IPAD for Jennifer as well. I also placed the Rolex DATEJUST Gold Automatic Watch I had previously bought and forgot under the tree as well.

By the middle of December, the floor around the tree was literally covered in gifts. It almost looked like we had robbed a department store. Kate and I were in the kitchen preparing roast beef sandwiches when Jennifer walked in right out of the shower. She passed in front of me and I froze in my tracks. She had on a pair of white lace boy shorts and a white t-shirt. It suddenly struck me right then that she was a grown woman. Thankfully Kate intervened before I could say a word.

“Jen, please go put some shorts on. That is inappropriate dress with Jace and I here.”, Kate asked.

“Aw mom, I don’t have anything that the two of you haven’t seen.”, Jen laughed.

“Jen, I’m not going to ask again.”, Kate demanded.

“Yes ma’am.”, Jen replied heading back to her room.

“Thank you, baby, for being the bad guy. I was just about to take care of it.”, I stated.

“You’re welcome baby…… so, since I did good tell me what you got me for Christmas.” she giggled.

“Nope……. not a chance McKinney.”, I laughed.

“Damn…… it was worth a try.”, she laughed.

Later that night we were watching television when Kate got up quietly and walked around the back of my theatre chair. She leaned over in my ear so close I could feel her warm breath on the side of my face.

“I’m going to take a shower and if you come in there in about ten minutes, I’m sure you’re going to like what you see.”, she whispered.

That’s what was so incredible about Kate. She would always leave you seductive hints of what was to come. Sometimes we would mention her lingerie and ask me to guess what color she was wearing. Then lifted her dress to let you know if you were right or wrong. Kate was a very sensuous woman and made sure I knew it daily.

A few minutes later I told Jennifer good night and walked into our bedroom closing and locking the door. I went to my dresser and grabbed a clean t-shirt and pair of boxers then went into the master bathroom. Kate was already inside of the shower with a fog of heat from the water. I slipped off my shorts and opened the large glass shower door. Kate was leaning against the far wall her right hand working her pussy over.

“So, what do you think?’, she giggled.

“I think you might need a hand.”, I answered.

“I think you’re right.”, she responded, holding out her arms.

I stepped a few feet forward and into Kate arms and pressed against her very warm skin. I pressed my lips to hers and quickly accepted her soft tongue. From Kate’s kiss I knew this was going to take more than one orgasm to satisfy her. I reached down between her legs and slowly began the circular motion on her clit that she enjoyed so much. Kate spun around so her back was too me and leaned forward against the wall.

She pressed hard on the wall as I slid my cock into her. I could feel Kates firm ass against my lower stomach. I reached around and traced Kate’s nipples in a circular motion and I moved very slowly inside of her.

“Harder baby”, Kate moaned moving her right hand between her legs.

I reached down and took Kate’s hips into my hands so I could hold on tighter. The warm water and her wet pussy made popping sounds every time I smashed into her firm ass.

I knew Kate was ready to cum because her pussy lips are starting to throb and squeeze me extremely tight. Kate gave up trying to enjoy the sensation and now it was just about cumming. Finally, Kate’s legs buckled and I pulled her against me hard. Her thighs were shaking as her soft moans resonated off the tiled wall. It took Kate several minutes to recover and then we moved to the bed.

I quickly got between her firm thighs and began to lick up what was left of her recent orgasm. After several minutes I had Kate’s hips moving in unison with my mouth and tongue.

“Jace, get back inside of me.”, she moaned.

I moved up the bed as Kate spread her legs open for me. She reached down and guided my hard dick to her very wet pussy. I watched her eyes roll back as I pushed slowly into her. She opened her eyes and stared directly into mine.

“Can I tell you a secret?”, Kate whispered with a wicked look on her face.

“Of course, you can.”, I replied, still moving inside of her.

“Someone at work has a huge crush on me.”, she stated, winking at me.

“One of the doctors?”, I asked, intrigued.

“Uh-huh”, she giggled.

“What his name?”, I asked feeling more aroused.

“Sarah.”, she giggled.

“Wait Sarah……… a woman.”, I asked.

“Uh-huh.”, Kate replied much more serious this time.

“How do you know that she is attracted to you?”, I inquired.

“I can tell by the way she looks at me and every now and then she says something provocative to me quietly.”, Kate replied staring into my eyes.

This conservation had my dick as hard as it had been in quite some time and I knew Kate felt it too. I was trying hard to hold back but it was becoming quite the challenge. Kate loved to talk during sex but this by far was the best conversation we had while we were fucking.

“So, you’re saying she wants to fuck you.”, I asked, trying my best to hold back.

“I know she does.”, Kate whispered.

“How do you know that?”, I inquired still moving slowly inside of Kate.

“Because she asked me out on a date.”, Kate giggled.

“Uh……… does she know you’re living me with?”, I laughed.

“Not at that time……… it was the first week I worked in the new office.”, Kate replied.

“Baby…… please make me cum.”, Kate moaned.

I leaned forward and began to thrust in and out of Kate’s soaked pussy. It took less than two minutes before she erupted into a strong orgasm causing me to cum at the same time. I collapsed on the bed next to Kate spent after being inside of her for close to thirty minutes.

We both got up a few minutes later and took a quick shower cleaning off. We went back to bed where Kate pressed her back into my chest and grabbed my arm pulling it over her. She was quiet for several minutes then spoke up.

“Oh, in case I didn’t mention it, Sarah is smoking hot.”, Kate giggled.

“Uh…… you’re attracted to girls now?”, I asked.

“Depends on the girl but yes I do find a few attractive.”, she replied.

“So, I’m guessing you find this doctor you work with attractive?”, I asked.

“Oh, fuck yea.”, Kate giggled.

“I see……… so what are you going to do about it?”, I inquired.

“We had a long talk and I told her about you and how I am madly in love with you. I don’t think that it bothered her too much because she has not stopped flirting with me.”, Kate laughed.

“Is it a distraction in the office?”, I inquired.

“No, she is very professional. She knows if something like that gets around it could affect your career. Not so much the girl – girl thing but the cheating thing. Most times it’s after the office has closed and most of the staff has left. Little subtle things like sitting across from me so I can look up her skirt. Sometimes she stands over my shoulder and presses her tits into my back.”, Kate admitted.

“Hmmmm, sounds like you might have to fuck her.”, I laughed.

“Are you serious?”, Kate exclaimed, rolling over and looking into my eyes.

“Sure, why not. As long as the both of you are discreet and careful.”, I offered.

“Would you like to watch us or maybe join us?”. Kate asked seductively.

“I dunno………maybe. If the both of you are good with it.”, I replied.

“I’ll get back to you on that after I give it a lot of thought.”, Kate laughed, rolling back over.

We were ten days before Christmas and it was once again time for the Gala at the Metronome that was held yearly. Kate went with Jennifer and they each bought a new dress for the occasion. Of course, we would sit with Kate’s parents as usual and I had become very close with them over the last year or so. I understood they both knew that I was going to ask Kate to marry me. I knew that Bill Phillips and his wife would be there and possibly Kate ex-husband as well. What nobody knew except myself was that I had Shelby’s engagement ring in a box in my right pants pocket. I had decided to do something special and tonight was the perfect occasion.

We entered a few minutes after eight o’clock and I was walking with two of the most beautiful women there. Jennifer and I stopped at the table of Ben and Beth Bartlett, Shelby’s parents to say hello. Jennifer and I had stayed in touch with them, so we just had a quick catch up then joined Kate at the table. We sat down with Thomas and Laura McKinney and got caught up in the conversation.

Around eight thirty I walked with Jennifer over to the buffet table to get some food. I was standing in line with her when Bill Phillips walked up.

“Hey kiddo, how are you?”, he asked.

“I’m good grandpa.”, she replied, hugging him quickly.

Ready for the season?”, he inquired.

“Yes sir…… this year it’s make or break for me.”, she answered.

We exchanged a few more words then he went back to his table. As I was walking back to the table with Jennifer, I noticed that men were looking at her in the way that men look. I took a second but then I realized that she was an eighteen-year-old beautiful young woman as was her mother. She was not the little girl I met so many years ago. We sat down and rejoined the conversation.

As was customary, several people gave speeches about how successful various firms had been and Thomas McKinney was always in the top three. They would present awards and this year his firm was ranked the best in the state. One of his partners accepted the award and gave a small speech. Just before wrapping up the presentation, the announcer leaned into the microphone.

“Ladies and gentleman, before I conclude the presentation I want to let all of you know we have a celebrity in our crowd. I want to recognize a young lady that has become the face of high school softball. Last year she led her team to a 33-2 record and Sacred Heart captured the state championship. She was named All State and she is the number one pitching prospect in this state. I would like to introduce you to Ms. Jennifer Phillips.”, he stated.

Jennifer looked somewhat embarrassed but pushed her chair back and stood up for a moment and waved to everybody in the room. She then sat back down and gave me a look like that had been my idea.

“Hey, drop the look sweet pea……… I had nothing to do with that.”, I laughed.

“No actually Jennifer, the speaker recognized you and asked me if he could say a few words.”, Thomas McKinney stated.

“Ok, I guess you’re off the hook Jace.”, Jennifer laughed slapping my arm.

For the next hour or so everyone danced on and off. I danced several times with Kate and her mother as well. I danced once with Jennifer and so did Bill Phillips which I still did not know how I felt about him. I was on my second dance with Jen when I looked down at her and smiled.

“You’re a very beautiful young lady’’, I whispered.

“I get that from my mother.”, she said, smiling.

“If I were only younger, I would ask you out….”, I laughed.

“Are you hitting on me Jace?”, Jennifer giggled.

“Um no not really but there is something I want to ask you.”, I said softly.

“What do you want ask me?”, she responded, as the song ended.

I reached into my front pocket and pulled out the large black velvet ring box. I opened the box and held it out for Jennifer to see. I then bent down on one knee causing her to place both hands over her mouth. The entire room went extremely quiet although that was an afterthought. Jennifer was completely shocked.

“Jennifer Phillips, will you be my daughter for the rest of our lives.”, I asked.

“Yes Jace, I will.”, she answered, tears running down her face.

I stood up and pulled the ring from the box and slid it on Jennifer’s finger. She looked at it for several seconds then hugged me tightly. We walked back to our table and sat down with everyone.

“Uh Jace, did you just ask Jennifer to marry you?”, Kate asked.

“Nope, I just asked her to be our daughter. That was her mother’s ring and she deserves to wear it.”, I explained.

“Damn, I was worried there for a minute.”, Kate giggled.

“That was the sweetest thing to do, Jace. Although I do think you confused most of the room.”, Laura McKinney said winking at me.

We all left together and drove straight home. We had two days to prepare for the Christmas Eve dinner we had planned for Kate’s entire family. That night after everyone had showered, we were all sitting in the living area by the Christmas tree. I looked over at Jennifer who was staring at her ring.

“You ok, Jen?”, I asked.

“Oh yes……… Um I am not an expert or anything, but I think this ring is very expensive.”, she stated.

“Yes, it is. It’s very expensive so I don’t suggest you wear it every day. But as you get older you can. Every time you look at it think of your mother.”, I offered.

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